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Little Brazil offers a taste of home for owner, patrons

Little Brazil Pele Display
Owner Charles Spies shows off his Pele’ display at the front of Little Brazil Market and Bakery.

One of the first things you notice walking into Little Brazil Market and cafe, located at 230 Spring St., is a framed photo and jersey of Brazilian soccer star Pele’ hanging over the fireplace of the former Caribou Coffee. But that isn’t the only taste of Brazil in the shop.

With a market full of Brazilian food and a cafe serving traditional dishes and coffee, Little Brazil is a little taste of home for owner Charles Spies. One he hopes he is bringing to his customers.

“A great number of people come and thank me for opening the business,” he said. “It helps them so much feel like home here.”

Spies, who grew up in Brazil and moved here with his wife six-and-a-half years ago, said he started Little Brazil both for people with a connection to his home country, but also to introduce more casual Brazilian fare into the Twin Cities, as opposed the the Brazilian steakhouses that have been popping up around town.

“I wanted to open a place where people can come on a daily, weekly basis and have a few different kinds of food,” he said. “I’m always trying to have foods that would stay under $15. That was kind of my target price”

He said that the made-to-order food in the cafe more emulates casual or street food you’d find in different regions of Brazil, but that would appeal to the American palette.

“I picked dishes that are easier to introduce to the American community, easily introduced to somebody who has never eaten Brazilian before,” Spies said. “Sandwiches, fried snacks and baked goods, some cakes, sweet desserts. I only picked easy things.”

Spies said that, while the market, which is the only one of its kind in the Midwest, is more geared toward Brazilian clientele, with many of the labels only in Portuguese, he is looking for ways to make cooking dishes and choosing ingredients a bit easier for the average American customer.

“I’m always trying to have foods that would stay under $15,” said Charles Spies, owner of Little Brazil Market and Cafe.

“I’m going to have labels on the shelves with QR codes and you’ll be able to point your phone and open our website,” he said. The website will include english translations, cooking instructions and recipe ideas for the items in the market. Spies said he is hoping to have the QR codes available to customers by the end of the month.

Spies said the cafe and market have had steady business and he has received mostly positive feedback from customers.

“The biggest challenge I’m having is with the coffee, because, like, you guys are very used to Starbucks and I’m not trying to compete with them,” he said. “But the sandwiches and the food itself, everything is having a very positive impact so far.”

Little Brazil

260 Spring St. 

Hours Tuesday-Thursday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.


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